Alexa has recently changed it’s algorithm for computing the traffic rank. Instead of just relying on their toolbar and widget based traffic, they are now going to get traffic details from other sources and that would certainly make the rankings more credible.
Recently there was also some buzz on what should be considered as traffic and page views due to the heavy use of AJAX in Web 2.0 applications.
Just when you thought now we have a robust means of getting more accurate traffic rank, unique visitors, page views and related metrics, SAAS is going to start skewing these numbers. For a few of the SAAS websites I follow, anywhere from 50% to 80% of their traffic is coming either from their customers using their SAAS application (this is possible to figure out by looking at the traffic by sub-domain and most companies use a separate sub-domain per customer!) or using their forums, bug tracking (you would know if a SAAS company has development in India based on traffic by country!) and other internal applications. While this traffic is “Internet Traffic”, it is not a traffic in the traditional sense. There are not so many SAAS companies at present, but as time passes and more SAAS vendors sprout up, this is going to skew the stats a bit. Just an observation!
Amazon surprised everyone in the recent quarter and it’s stock went up more than 50% since then. Not sure how much of their revenue is from their Web Services.
One of the web service they offer is Alexa Top Sites for which they charge $0.0025 per query. That’s about $0.25 for every 100 sites you need to figure out. I am not sure how many are really interested in figuring out traffic ranks by city and all as most websites with a rank above 100k pretty much are all one and the same (well, not exactly, but the traffic in these sites is so little, that there is practically not much difference in knowing if one is 303245 and the other is 523450).
Anyway, with the arrival of Quantcast, Alexa has a very tough competition ahead. Ofcourse, each company uses a different technique to arrive at the ranking (and hence, WordPress for example, ranks around 40 by Quantcast and 96 by Alexa as of this writing), but we all know that no ranking system is perfect. The good thing about Quantcast is, if you are the lucky enough to have a website within 100k ranking, then you can see some very interesting statistics about your audience. A lot of demographic information that is not available with Alexa.
What’s more, Quantcast is giving away the top 1 million sites for free! (check the bottom of the link for a download link). So, now who is interested in paying $0.25 for every 100 results to Alexa, rise your hands!
Excellent job Quantcast. Keep up the good work!